Health and care workers no longer exempt from travel isolation rules

An exemption was originally put in place to ensure health and care workers traveling back from overseas could quickly return to treating patients. 

James McKay
31 July 2020
COVID Airport

Workers are now required to self-isolate when returning from a high-risk country.

Health and social care professionals are no longer exempt from rules requiring those traveling from high-risk counties to self-isolate on their return.

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An announcement from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) this morning confirmed the change, citing fear of a second wave moving across Europe as the reason.

DHSC states that following a review of whether the measure is still necessary, from 31 July 2020 the exemption has been removed “to minimise the risk of onward chains of transmission that might infect the wider workforce.”

The new guidance makes no differentiation between travel work pleasure or work-related reasons, so all registered health and care professionals are now required to self-isolate when returning from a high-risk country.

The move brings them in line with the general public and further protects the NHS and social care system from the spread of coronavirus from overseas, as signs of second waves begin to show in other countries.

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An exemption was originally put in place to ensure health and care workers travelling back from overseas could quickly return to treating patients.

The decision brings England back into line with Scotland and Wales who require healthcare professionals to self isolate for 14 days if returning from a country deemed to be high risk.

The air industry and repeated calls for a point of care testing system to be implemented in order to reduce the required isolation period.

A list of countries exempt from self-isolation measures is available on GOV.UK.

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